Scholar. Author. Ethnographer. Fitness Enthusiast.
Eziaku Nwokocha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. She is a scholar of Africana religions with expertise in the ethnographic study of Vodou in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Her research is grounded in gender and sexuality studies, visual and material culture and Africana Studies. Previously, Nwokocha held a position as a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Religion at Princeton University and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Culture, Society and Religion at Princeton. She obtained a Ph.D. with distinction in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Black studies and Feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Nwokocha was a Ford Predoctoral Fellow during her PhD and Ronald E McNair Scholar as an undergraduate. She is the author of Vodou en Vogue: Fashioning Black Divinities in Haiti and the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2023), an ethnographic study of fashion, spirit possession, and gender and sexuality in contemporary Haitian Vodou, exploring Black religious communities through their innovative ceremonial practices. The book is featured within the series Where Religion Lives.
Nwokocha is currently working on her second book project which is tentatively entitled: “‘Tell My Spirit’: Black Queer Women in Haitian Vodou,” which investigates Black queer women’s interactions with Haitian Vodou divinities, their performance of ritual work, and their formation of religious communities in multiple locations including Montréal, Canada; Miami, Florida; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; Brooklyn, New York, and Northern California. She pays particular attention to spiritual possession, which serves as a site for subversive ritual performances that contest dominant national and regional discourses on sexuality, gender, and race. Nwokocha has been featured in the Journal of Haitian Studies, Harvard Divinity Bulletin Magazine, Reading Religion, and Women Studies Quarterly.
Eziaku Nwokocha is also an American Aerobics Association International (AAAI) certified personal trainer and an avid group Fitness and Spinning enthusiast. As a former college athlete and Legacy Rower, she takes pride in maintaining a balance of scholarship, mental health and physical health. She encourages women of all shapes and sizes to accept and become the best version of themselves through the different forms of exercise (muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, and endurance). As a fitness trainer at a Black owned boutique studio, Smart fitness Studios, her classes have ranged over the years from Thick and Fit, Tone and Tighten, Cycling, Bootcamp and 2-5 mile Fitness. She is also a member of Girtrek, an organization dedicated to Black women’s health.